Knowsley keepers celebrate white rhino arrival

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Newborn female white rhino
Image caption,
The unnamed baby female is being kept indoors out of the cold

Keepers at a Merseyside safari park are celebrating the birth of a second baby white rhino.

The unnamed female was born at Knowsley Safari Park on Thursday, about a month after that of her half-brother, Troy, who was born at the end of November.

Both baby and her 16-year-old mother, Winnie, are both said to be doing well but staying indoors out of the cold.

Keepers are now eagerly awaiting the birth of a third baby rhino which is due in early 2011.

General manager David Ross said: "Everyone here is delighted at the arrival of our second rhino calf in a matter of weeks."

"New Year babies don't get much bigger than this. She's a really strapping calf - the biggest ever born here - so she'll be more than a match for Troy who is just along the corridor from her in our giant-sized maternity unit.

"The great thing is that, as they've been born at pretty much the same time, they'll be able to play together as they grow up.

"And if another calf is born successfully over the next couple of months the three big babies will be a fantastic attraction for visitors in what is our 40th anniversary year."

The latest birth follows a gestation period which lasts from 485 to 515 days and about 16 months in the womb. Both calfs were fathered by a 30-year-old white rhino called Bud.

The white rhino is much larger than its black relative, is the second largest land mammal after the elephant and can live for 40 years.

They are named after their Afrikaans name weit (meaning wide), which describes their jaw rather than their colour.

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